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S&W 659, 645, 5906, Etc.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Confederate, Mar 1, 2010.

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  1. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    These have always impressed me as very nice guns, and very underrated as well. Just looking for comments from owners. I don't know the third generation version of the 645, but I've heard good things about them.

    Do you think these guns are too heavy? Do they handle +P okay and, if so, do they do better with heavier recoil springs? Do they have any inherent problems??

    Also, were there any real improvements made between the second and third generation pistols, or were most of them cost cutting designs? Or both?

    I was always impressed by the reasonable prices of the guns and their reliability. How could S&W produce these guns at reasonable prices while steel 1911s (that weren't so reliable) sold for more than twice the price?

    Overall thoughts? Photos??


    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    The 1911s are all-steel pistols that were designed
    a century ago, yet they sold for twice the price of
    the S&W pistols. Extra credit: What film is this clip
    from? If you don't know, for shame!!


    .
     
  2. Airburst

    Airburst Member

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    I own and have owned many 3rd gen S&W autoloaders. My first gun was a 5906 which I still own. I also have a 645, 4506-1, 4566, 4003, 4046, 1076, 1066, 1086, 4006 plus countless others that I have sold. I love them all. These guns will feed empty catridges, feed any kind of ammo and have factory backing on warranty work. Yes, the all-stainless steel guns are heavy compared to the modern plastic guns, but the aforementioned 4003 has the alloy frame, which S&W used in all of their production guns. That handgun is as light as my G19. You can't go wrong with any S&W 2nd or 3rd gen autoloader. Hope this helps. :)
     
  3. ir3e971

    ir3e971 Member

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    Confederate,

    I am by no means a Smith and Wesson expert, but I will try to answer as best I can.

    These have always impressed me as very nice guns, and very underrated as well.

    They are very nice guns. Extremely well made.

    Do you think these guns are too heavy?

    I have a 5906 and a 645. Tough for me to judge, I dont have any polymer pistols. They are not to heavy for me, though they are primarily house and range guns. The 645 is certainly a large chunk of stainless steel, though that helps it absorb recoil.

    Do they handle +P okay and, if so, do they do better with heavier recoil springs?

    I believe the answer to this is yes. They are seriously strong guns, designed for law enforcement use. For a definitive answer, ask S&W, but I do believe they are supposed to be one of the stronger guns built.

    Do they have any inherent problems??

    Not that I know of.

    Also, were there any real improvements made between the second and third generation pistols, or were most of them cost cutting designs? Or both?

    645 has separate grip panels, 4506 has wrap around grips. Not sure of the other refinements. I cant answer for the 5906.

    I was always impressed by the reasonable prices of the guns and their reliability.

    The cost is because they are law enforcement surplus sales. I suspect the price will go up as the last of the supplies dries up. In fact I think this is already happening.

    The 645 and 5906 I have are the opposite of finicky. They haven't jammed on me yet, and seem to feed and shoot any ammo well.

    How could S&W produce these guns at reasonable prices while steel 1911s (that weren't so reliable) sold for more than twice the price?

    Perhaps quantity for LE sales and a known parts and servicing plan. I think Glock does the same thing.


    Both 645 and the 5906 are pistols I would recommend to anyone who needs a reliable semi auto. The only exception is if you imagine that you want to CCW one. That would require an extra belt, as they are heavy. :)
     
  4. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Thanks for the comments! The guns I bought were all new, and they were still significantly cheaper than the 1911s at wholesale. It makes me wonder how S&W can make stainless steel guns that have a much better reliability factor for a fraction of the price of a steel 1911 that has to be worked on to be reliable.

    Any guesses on the movie shot?

    [​IMG]

    S&W 457

    .
     
  5. Storm

    Storm Member

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    The original Day the Earth Stood Still?
     
  6. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    "Klattu berrada necto!"

    Very good! I was beginning to lose faith....

    Regarding the 659s and 5906s, I like the 5906's sights, but I'm not crazy about the wrap-around grips. The weight, however, isn't bad. I have several holsters that make these guns very easy to carry.

    The 645 is difficult, but not impossible, to carry concealed. It's an astoundingly good gun, though. I can't think of a 1911 I'd rather have in a tight spot.
     
  7. WNC Seabee

    WNC Seabee Member

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    I have a 4566 now. I have had a 4513 (miss that one a lot!), a 659 (my dad "borrowed" it years ago...) and a 4506.

    While it is heavy, I really enjoy carrying the 4566. In fact, I replaced an Officer's frame 1911 for the 4566 in my carry rotation. The 1911 was picky on ammo and I really (really really) like the DA/SA for a carry piece. I carry mine with a round chambered and safety/decocker in the "off" position.

    These 3rd gen guns are more than accurate enough for their purpose.
     
  8. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I have a 659 that I purchased in the mid-80s. It is a bit on the heavy side but I have found that that extra weight makes for a very stable & accurate 9mm platform.
     
  9. Storm

    Storm Member

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    I find the 2nd and 3rd Gen Smiths to be tough, reliable, accurate and outstanding values. I own several. I think that some of the 2nd gen are some of the most underrated including the 469/669, 645, and the 659.

    As to the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, for it's genre it was a masterpiece. The new version...a mess.
     
  10. AJChenMPH

    AJChenMPH Member

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    +1 -- and frankly, I just love the aesthetics on them. Every time I see a cop with one in their holster (I still see a few NYPD cops carrying 5946s), I just think it oozes professionalism and competence.

    That said -- I still have trouble picking up the sights on my 6906, as well as shooting it accurately under any condition other than slow, deliberate aiming. I shoot my Glock 19 much better than my 6906, which is disheartening since I really want to make the 6906 my carry weapon.
     
  11. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    I have a 659 that I purchased in the mid-80s. It is a bit on the heavy side but I have found that that extra weight makes for a very stable & accurate 9mm platform.
    __________________


    I had one issued and carried it for about 5 years and I concur. Never had a problem with it and the weight allows you great control.

    I carried a 6906 for nearly 10 years and the only caveat I can offer is to replace the recoil spring every 3-5k rounds.
     
  12. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I own 6 3rd gen S&W's (5906, 4006, 4506, 4516-1, 1006, CS45), and will snap up any others that I find at good prices. They are, IMO, the most robust combat autos ever built, easily digesting loads that would batter many other guns. The combination of fit & finish, accuracy, durability and reliability of these pistols has been the best of all the handguns I've had experience with, and that's a bunch.
     
  13. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    I have a 410S, and just picked up a 659 this morning. It was missing a screw on the right side of the de-cocker, and I did a search... that is an inherant problem I guess but I like what I am hearing!!

    I will post pictures tonight. I got it in trade for my newer 10/22 (I kept the '81 I had....)
     
  14. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    The biggest gripe I've heard is that the screw on the right side of the safety of the 659 is slotted for a Phillips head. That never bothered me, but some people think it makes the gun look like it was assembled on a workbench.

    Don't know what the problem is on the 6906 is -- is it the sights?

    I'd love to have a good 639. After the horrors of the first generation, I never thought I'd be such a fan of S&W autos. The original 59 looked great and everyone wanted it to work, but it was just plagued with problems (as was the 39s). S&W finally got them working, but it was too little too late. The 459 worked fine, but almost immediately took a back seat to the Beretta 92. But when the stainless versions came out, that turned the tide.

    S&W can no longer afford to make these fine guns, but they're still a bargain on the used market, and they work even if limp-wristed.
     
  15. blakeci

    blakeci Member

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    I had a 910, great gun for a decent price used. At 5 yards during fairly rapid fire it would group everything in a small fist shaped group dead center. I could fire off 2 or 3 mags worth into the target and it would look like a 3 inch hole had been punched in the bullseye. :D Couldn't make it jam if I wanted to with any thing I fed it. Very under rated.
     
  16. Storm

    Storm Member

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    I have never had one of those safety screws come loose. The first thing I do is hit them with blue Loctite. At first those Phillips head screws bugged me a bit but in time I really came to like them. They have an "endearing" quality that is representative of that period, and, on one occasion I passed on a 2nd gen that had changed that safety configuration to a more modern version.
     
  17. rocinante

    rocinante Member

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    I have a 915 and it is the pistol that gets night stand designation. It always goes bang. In the 3rd gen family it is the budget model with lesser fixed sights and non ambi safety. It is lighter than the 5906 with an alloy frame.
     
  18. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    If I found a good deal on a 2nd or 3rd generation pistol, I wouldn't pass on it over a minor modification. I'd probably get more, but I live in Maryland, where the police have to know about every transaction.

    I urge everyone: avoid this state! I never would move here again, nor would I visit it. The last time I bought a gun, the paperwork took me all afternoon. It's one reason prices are outrageous here. (They'd ban guns if they thought they could get away with it.)
     
  19. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    I've had a 5904 (also my first semi-auto pistol), 6946 and a 3913LS. The latter was my favorite; unfortunately I had to let it go. :mad: All were 100% reliable, even the 6946 that was well used when I got it and had a recoil spring like a limp noodle. (A new one was $5 from Midway, who stocks many parts for these guns.)
     
  20. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    I have a S&W 910 and just cant believe what a great gun it is for the $$$. I have put several thousand rounds of 125gr cast reloads through it w/o single hiccup. I joke with my friends that if I loaded the mag with chunks of bricks this gun would load them just fine:) It is more accurate than my SIG P6 and will give my P226 and run for its money.

    Every time I go into my fav gun shop I find myself checking out a sub $450 used S&W 4513TSW that just seems to linger there un-sold and wondering how I can "justify" its purchase;) Yep, these old, non-tacti-cool gun metal framed guns seem to be out of fashion...which is just fine with me since I can buy twice the gun for 1/2 the price of some newer guns!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  21. AJChenMPH

    AJChenMPH Member

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    You mean on mine? Don't think so -- the gun is pretty much stock. I'm just still learning how to shoot it.

    The Glock 19 just points more naturally for me, and I can pick up the sights better on the G19. I can keep the 6906 inside the 9 ring at 10 yards, but I have to be very deliberate in aiming and with my trigger control, whereas I can pretty much rapid-fire the Glock 19 and keep everything inside the 8 ring at 10 yards (whereas I tend to be low and to the left with the 6906 when rapid-firing).
     
  22. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    I like the Glock, but I will always prefer my 5906 and 659. I never limp-wrist a gun while firing it, but under the stress of a firefight, it's a possibility. The extra weight of the 659/5906 I also find to be more pleasant. If my weak hand was disabled, the S&Ws would be the easiest to deal with.

    Some may disagree. I also find the Glocks to be asthetically unappealing.
     
  23. Storm

    Storm Member

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    Hey Confederate, believe me, I understand the difficulty of passing on a nice Smith auto. If anyone were to see all of the Smiths in my gun vault they'd have to agree that I'm one guy who can afford to be picky and pass on one once in a while :D
     
  24. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Where's the best place to get them now? All these auction places want top dollar.

    A little more than a year ago, I saw some available that were still new in the box and I thought about getting one, but I was overtaken by events.
     
  25. carbuncle

    carbuncle Member

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    I owned a new 5906 in the 90s, which I foolishly let go, and just picked up a 6906 in January: I love them, they carry well and shoot reliably. My 5906 was as heavy as you'd expect an all-steel handgun to be, but it ate up +p Cor-Bon with no problems whatsoever.

    After getting the 6906 I've started looking for a 5906 and a CS9 to go with it.
     
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